TO INSURE THE RARITY
PRIVATELY PRINTED WORKS
JAMES O. HALLIWELL, ESQ., F.R.S.,
FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY.
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The justice of the course I have adopted will, I think, clearly appear from the following statement. During the last few years, I have printed, at my own expense, twelve handsome quarto volumes, the impression in no instance exceeding one hundred and ten copies, five not exceeding eighty, and of four no more than seventy-five copies being printed; and a considerable proportion even of these have been deposited in public libraries. The consequence of this has been, that the books, when they have occurred for sale, have realized more than the subscription; in some cases more than double, and, in one instance, the American agency sent a commission of £10:10 for a book only subscribed for at £2:2. In making up the few sets now remaining, I have been compelled to purchase one copy at double the original subscription, and another at exactly three times the subscription, obtaining those even by mere accident and with difficulty.
Owing to mismanagement in allowing too many of particular volumes to be dis- / p. 5 / persed, I am now only able to form, with those above-mentioned, the small number of twenty sets; and being anxious to take still further precautions to render them valuable, I propose to add to each set imperfect copies of duplicates of those works of which separate copies remain, so that the binder will be enabled to make peculiarly fine copies by selecting the best sheets, the utmost care being altogether insufficient to prevent the occasional occurrence of printers' stains in works printed on fine susceptible paper. By these means, the above-mentioned copies of complete sets will be select far beyond any others, while their rarity will be secured by the mutilation of upwards of sixty volumes of duplicates for the above purpose. The following are the titles of the twelve works alluded to:-
I. Morte Arthure: The Alliterative Romance of the Death of King Arthur, now first printed from a MS. in Lincoln Cathedral. A long and very curious romance, full of allusions interesting to the antiquary and philologist. Quarto.
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II. The Castle of Love, a Poem by Robert Grosteste, Bishop of Lincoln, now first printed from inedited MSS. of the fourtheenth century. Quarto.
III. Contributions to Early English Literature, derived chiefly from Rare Books and ancient inedited MSS., from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Quarto.
IV. A New Boke about Shakespeare and Stratford-on-Avon, illustrated with numerous woodcuts and facsimiles of Shakespeare's Marriage-Bond, and other curious articles. Quarto.
V. The Palatine Anthology, an extensive Collection of Ancient Poems and Ballads relating to Cheshire and Lancashire; to which is added the Palatine Garland. Quarto.
VI. The Literature of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, illustrated by Reprints of very Rare Tracts by Taylor the Water-Poet, the Booke of Merry Riddles, etc. Quarto.
VII. The Yorkshire Anthology, a thick volume of Ballads and Poems respecting / p.7 / and relating to the County of York. Quarto.
VIII. Some Account of a Collection of several Thousand Bills, Accounts, and Inventories, illustrating the History of Prices between the years 1650 and 1750, with copious Extracts from old Account-books. Quarto.
IX. The Poetry of Witchcraft, illustrated by copies of the plays on the Lancashire Witches by Shadwell and Heywood. Quarto.
X. The Norfolk Miscellany, a Collection of Poems, Ballads, and Rare Tracts relating to the County of Norfolk. Quarto.
XI. Some Account of Antiquities, Coins, MSS., Rare Books, and other Reliques, illustrative of the Life and Works of Shakespeare, with woodcuts and facsimiles. Quarto.
XII. Catalogue of the MSS. preserved in the Public Library, Plymouth, with inedited pieces by Dr. Forman, Shirley, and Breton. Quarto.
Under the arrangement above proposed, the remaining complete sets must ne- / p.8 / cessarily always be extremely scarce, and will now easily be distributed at £22 the set, for I believe no set can now be purchased (on any terms) of the booksellers. It must be remembered that these works produce no profit. On one or two there has been a small gain, but on most of them the loss has been large, extending to four-fifths of the cost in the instances of Nos. 2, 8, 9, and 12, and to a considerable proportion in others. The sale of these sets will tend to equalize the expenditure, but certainly will not really do so; yet something must be allowed for bibliographical fancies, and I am fortunate if the loss be eventually not overwhelming.
Each set is rendered still further unique by the addition of two quarto pamphlets on kindred subjects, only twenty-five copies of which are printed, and are not for sale. The original subscription to the volumes, as they appeared, was £22:2; so that the above is not an advanced price.